This summer was one for the record book. In all my birthdays, I spent my twentieth in Cadiz, Spain where I was creating some of the greatest memories of my life. I was making new friends, exploring new cities and countries, and doing research with a program that was paired with UTC. This is probably the most ideal situation anyone would want for their summer, and I was able to experience it. The Summer Research Fellows Program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga gave me this phenomenal opportunity, and I was not going to deny it.
This summer, I had to chance to do a lot of firsts. It was my first time going out of the country, and it was my first time conducting professional research. As a mechanical engineering major, I always thought that research would be an interesting concept to try. I had done some preliminary research in the past, but I really wanted to explore the field of Mechanical Engineering this summer. So, I applied for the program, and I am happy to say that I received an offer to go to Spain and conduct my own research. This program was very helpful in organizing housing, airfare, and mentorships which was caring as a first-time traveler and researcher. I felt very comfortable throughout the entire summer. Thankfully, I had a great connection with my mentor as I researched surface roughness and additive manufacturing.
I was quite nervous at the beginning because of the language barrier and the lack of experience I had. But my mentor made it clear that research meant learning. And as a student, our purpose is to learn. This summer, I learned how to speak Spanish, travel alone, paddleboard, make new friends, and research. I would never give up the opportunity to study-abroad ever again. It truly is a gratifying experience that I cannot put into words or pictures. One must experience it for themselves because the culture is nothing like the United States. As someone who had never left the country before, I was truly in awe of what I was seeing every day. The mountains in the background, the ocean surrounding us, the food we were eating, and the building housing us were the most awing sights. Although the United States is beautiful in most places, the history along with the buildings are another aspect one must learn.
To have the ability to say that I went to Spain for an entire summer is rewarding in more ways than anyone will ever know. Not only was I exploring, but I was learning about my life. By doing research, I have more ideas of what I want to do with my future career, and how I can achieve it. I will be eternally grateful for the Summer Research Fellows Program with the University of Cadiz for a life-changing experience, and I hope everyone can experience it too.
Adrianne Glover (BS Mechanical Engineering) participated in the Summer 2022 international summer learning opportunity for students offered through the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors. The International Summer Undergraduate Research Program represents a collaboration between The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the University of Cadiz in Spain. The purpose of the initiative is to support students to participate in an eight (8) week intensive research experience during the summer in a global environment.